Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Odds and Ends

Today is my last first day of school! Unless I decide to go to grad school later on down the road, this will be my last semester of college! I don't know if I can actually describe how exciting that is for me, all I can say is that I am so ready to finish and be totally done in May.

This semester is mostly clinic, only a couple of lectures one day a week, and then studying like crazy for boards! I looked at my class syllabi last night and seeing my board exams scheduled into the class schedule is VERY exciting!

In other news, I teach the sunbeams in our ward and I absolutely love it! Those kids are so sweet, and so innocent and real. While I don't have kids of my own yet, I love my sunbeams as much as I think I would love my own kids. Definitely probably the best calling I've had yet.

Update on my Clinique products...
The cleanser, etc. is still working wonders and I love it. The powder face make-up however, I had to stop using. It was working, and I loved it, but it drys out my face so much and makes my skin look like I'm about 85 years old. I have come to the conclusion that I just can't wear make up on my face. But now that I've found a cleanser that works, it is helping the blotchy redness in my face go down, so I shouldn't need much make-up anyway. I just have to fix my face up again from being so dry for 5 days with make up.

On Saturday, we went to the Coyotes game in Phoenix with Dan's cousin Jamie and his dad. It was a lot of fun and a very exciting game! I even got made fun of for eating Dippin Dots ice cream while sitting in a cold hockey arena!
On our way to Phoenix, we stopped in Maricopa to pick up a new kitchen table from someone I found on Craigslist. The kitchen table we have now has to stay with the house for my brother when we move. So, we had to find ourselves a new kitchen table. We wanted a counter height table and chairs, since we really like the one my dad has, and the one that our friends Wes and Tiff have in St. George. This table I found was just the table, no chairs, and has a few scuffs on it, but it was...$20!
Counter height sets of tables and 4 chairs sell for between $500-800 new in the store! We're going to sand it down, fix it up and paint it, and then it'll be like brand new! It's in great shape except for the few scrapes on the top. More pictures (before and after) of that project to come later...

After the game, we went to another stop in north Phoenix to pick up a new La-Z-Boy rocker that I also found on Craigslist. It is in perfect condition and doesn't look like it was ever even used. Still very plush and comfy. It also matches the rest of our furniture. I put my foot down and said that the old pink chair that we've had that came from my in laws, will not be coming with us to our new house. It is probably at least 10 years old, probably more. It doesn't recline anymore, it squeaks when it rocks, and it's disgustingly dirty. But Dan loves to sit in a rocking chair while watching TV, doing homework, etc. So we had to find a replacement... Well here it is! (Excuse the dog in the pictures...she wouldn't move)

Old pink chair...

Awesome new chair!
We went to see The Blind Side last night in celebration of our last day of break before crazy madness school starts again. What a wonderful movie! I can't think of another movie that I like more that I've seen in a long time. Such a great story and was played so well. It is now one of my favorite movies.

Anyway, I need to go get ready to leave for school. Thanks for reading, and keep watching for more updates, as I'm sure there will be many more to come throughout the semester and our last 4 months in Tucson!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


For Christmas, my step mom got me this set of cleanser and moisturizer from Clinique.
I absolutely LOVE it! I have terrible eczema, so my skin is horribly sensitive to just about everything! Up til' now, I have only been able to use Aveeno hand lotion on my face because it's the only thing that doesn't burn and make my face feel/look like it's going to burst into flames.

But my skin is still always red, dry, flaky and blotchy. Until now. I asked for this set for Christmas because people were getting desperate for gift ideas for me. I had heard about it from a couple girls at school, and had done some reading about Clinique online that it was made for sensitive skin and is fragrance free, etc. I even read a few comments from people who had eczema who said that Clinique was great for them. So I decided...what the heck? If I don't like it and it doesn't work, then I won't feel bad that I spent $50 on it.

I completely love this cleansing regimen, and use it everyday now. Before this, I have tried to wash my face everyday, but wasn't too strict on it because my face never felt that much different afterward.

So, now I'm like totally addicted to Clinique products. I want to try everything now. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't wear much make up, and what I do wear is just on my eyes. The reasoning for that is because my skin is always so dry, no foundation or face make up ever looks good. It always looks flaky and gross. So, I just don't wear any because I've never been able to find a make up that works with my skin.

Well, after using this cleanser and moisturizer combo for a week or 2 now, my skin is much more soft and controlled, and much less dry. So i've been intrigued and wanting to try Clinique's pressed powder make up to help with the red and blotchy problem. It is their top selling make up and is very lightweight, natural looking and mineral enriched, which is a plus for my skin. (Another reason I haven't been too hyped about face make up is because I hate feeling like I'm wearing 10 lbs. of make up and like my skin can't breathe)

I have also been needing new mascara for a while now, and they are almost just as much at like Target, so I figured I'd try Clinique's too.

When we went to get Dan's textbooks in the UA bookstore on Monday, I remembered that there is a Clinique counter in there. I went to look, and the girl told me they were having a bonus that started on Wednesday, so if I could wait until then, it would be much more worth it.

So I did. We went back last night to get my make up, and a couple of fun reading books for Dan. I bought my pressed powder make up...
and got all this, plus a compact mirror and cosmetic bag FREE! (Notice the mascara, which I would have paid for otherwise)

The lipstick is a dark purple color, which I'll never wear, and the eyeshadow is a purple since that was all they had left, which I probably won't wear too often either, but it was good to try the stuff and I do want to go get a brown palette of eyeshadow now that I will wear regularly, and a light blush to go over my new make up! The mascara is awesome. The make up remover is also great and doesn't burn my eyes!

If anyone is unhappy with their skin care system or their make up, I highly recommend Clinique products! They are wonderful, and are actually good for your skin unlike most products out there. Coming from me, who never wears make up, and who has terrible skin...you know it must be true!

(I just re-read this entire post, and it really sounds like an advertisement for Clinique. But really, it's 100% true. This is a GREAT product line, and it works wonderfully! I'll have some before and after pictures to post shortly)


I apologize for being so horrible at keeping up with this. I always say that I'm going to be better, and I update once or twice and then I slack again...lol I'm really going to try to be better, but we'll see what happens when school starts.

Our Christmas this year was definitely one to remember. We debated back and forth (and by we, I mean I did) about what we should do for "our" Christmas.

Our first Christmas together ended pretty rough because we spent the entire holiday running from house to house, visiting everyone, and never had our own Christmas together.

Last year, we stayed at Dan's aunt Rita's vacant condo over Christmas. We brought our small fiber optic Christmas tree to set up on an end table, and woke up a little earlier on Christmas morning to open each other's gifts and have somewhat of our own Christmas morning. Boy, it made ALL the difference! We were so much happier and enjoyed Christmas so much more just because of that extra 15 minutes we spent together first.

So...I was debating, because the vacant condo is no longer vacant, and we didn't really have any other options of places to stay alone. The thought of staying home, and driving up to Mesa on Christmas Day crossed my mind...and quickly left. I did not want to make that drive on Christmas morning, plus we always spend Christmas Eve with my dad. Which in turn alleviates some of the demand for us on Christmas Day.

We decided to have our own Christmas on Christmas Eve, here at home before we left for Mesa. Dan worked until 1, so I made a small lunch to tide us over until we had dinner at my Dad's and then we opened each other's gifts and let the dogs open their stockings. We also decided to stay at my mom's on Christmas Eve. Our dogs would be there also, and we would be able to keep them calm and sleeping well, so as to not disturb the rest of the house on Christmas Eve.
Well, it didn't really work out quite as we'd hoped...

We spent Christmas Eve at my dad's like usual. Everything went well there. We got back to my mom's around 9:30 or so, and did a few things before going to bed.
My brother Alan, after the festivities at my Dad's went to meet a couple of his friends to play basketball for a few hours. He got back to my mom's around 1am, and went immediately into the restroom. He was SO sick. We weren't sure if it was something he ate, but since none of the rest of us got sick, it wasn't very likely. He ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor because of his frequent vomiting. With the bathroom being right next to the room Dan and I were sleeping in (which is normally Alan's room), we didn't get much sleep either. I kept getting up to see if there was anything I could get Alan to help him feel better. I felt awful as he laid on the bathroom floor with one hand sticking out into the hallway as he moaned "Jill...help me". He just kept begging me for water, since he was getting so dehydrated. He could hardly keep it down though.

Finally around 3:30 am, I went up to get Alan some more water, and my mom was standing at the top of the stairs. She looked like she had been hit by a truck, and said "Annie started throwing up about an hour ago"...

My 9 year old sister with Down Syndrome was also in her room throwing up, the same as Alan. My step dad was in her room with her, holding a bucket underneath her, since she doesn't understand throwing up in the toilet.

Obviously this wasn't something Alan ate. My other brother Leo, had come down with a bad case of the stomach flu himself the weekend before Christmas; and it was becoming obvious that this was the same thing...All on Christmas Eve.

I finally fell asleep at around 4 am on Christmas Day. We woke up at 7, and I went to see how everything was going. My mom was still at the same place on the stairs, but sitting now with her head in her hands. She said that she was starting to feel really nauseous and she didn't know what to do about Christmas? My grandparents were scheduled to come over around 11am with a full meal and gifts. So my mom asked me to call my Grandma and let her know what was going on and see what she wanted to do. Grandma decided they would drive over (from Sun City) and leave the food and gifts at the front door, but wouldn't come in. (My grandma has COPD, and is incredibly frail and weak. If she caught something like the stomach flu, she very easily could die from it)

Dan and I wanted to get out of the house as quick as we could, so we didn't catch this stomach flu that was spreading fast. We got dressed (somewhat), loaded up our stuff, grabbed our dogs, and went to his family's house to have Christmas morning there. I was so exhausted that I could hardly function. After we opened gifts, I went to Dan's grandma's where we normally stay, and took a 3 hour nap.

Alan was texting me around then (about 11am) asking when we were going to open gifts, and saying that he voted this the worst Christmas ever. I felt awful. He was still in bed, terribly sick. Annie was at least down on the couch, but was still sick, and my mom was up in bed with horrible nausea, aches and pains. The worst part, was Leo, my 13 year old brother who had the stomach flu the week before, was having to just sit around and not really do much of anything on Christmas Day because everyone else was so sick. They didn't open gifts or anything in the morning, so for him it was just like any other day.

We had lunch at Dan's grandma's, which was most enjoyable. We were able to spend some good time with her and even play a game or two. She loves having us over now that she's a widow and lives on her own.

We then went back to his other Grandma's (where I had slept earlier), and met up with some of his cousins and other family. I was finally able to shower and put on clean clothes. Which after the night and day I had, made me feel like a million bucks! We played "Loaded Questions", and had fun visiting with family.

Finally around 9pm, Alan called and said Leo couldn't wait any longer and that they were going to open gifts. He was feeling well enough to at least come sit out on the couch, Annie was asleep, and my mom was also able to at least come sit down and open a couple gifts. We were nervous to go over there, and my mom was "scared to death" for us to come, in fear that we would catch it. But we wanted to spend at least a little bit of Christmas with my family, since we had been with Dan's all day. So we went for about an hour, and opened gifts and were able to enjoy some Christmas together.

It was definitely a rough Christmas, and not one that you would wish on anyone. But, at the end of the day, it will definitely be a Christmas we will never forget.